Leaky pipes, humidity, garbage disposal system failures… there are so many ways that water damage can affect your home. More specifically, your kitchen sink cabinets are at high-risk for water damage, especially if your plumbing is old or cheap.
No one wants mold, water damage, or ruined cabinets!
However, there are many different methods for waterproofing cabinets in your kitchen to shield them from leaky pipes and water damage. From rubber floor mats to plastic trays and spray-on sealers, we explore 11 different methods for waterproofing cabinets.
Let's get to it!
How Do You Waterproof Kitchen Cabinets? 11 Methods to Try
1 Spray-on Rubber Coating
Spray-on rubber cabinet coating is one of the easiest things you can use to prevent water damage. Available from many different brands, these spray-on coatings are designed to shield your wooden cabinets with a layer of waterproof varnish that helps to keep leaks from destroying cabinetry.
Ideally, you want a spray coating that is durable and heat-resistant, staying put even if the room gets very hot, as kitchens often do. Ideally look for a product that cures (i.e. dries) quickly, as this will make the application process a lot simpler.
Some dry as quickly as 30 minutes or less – great for cabinets of all sizes.
2 Rubber mat under the sink cabinet
You can buy many cabinet floor mat products designed to withstand water and moisture, keeping the base of your under-sink cabinets free from damage if a leak should occur. Usually made from rubber or a similar waterproof material, these floor mats are flexible and easy to clean.
They'll also hold up to a gallon of water, keeping your cabinet protected!
Xtreme is a company making some of the best cabinet mats in this space, so you may want to check out their cabinet mats if you're concerned with leaks in your house. Each Xtreme cabinet mat can be adjusted to fit your specific cabinet dimensions and they can hold liters of water before overflowing.
Xtreme is a great brand, but there are many cabinet floor mat options on the market to try!
3 Peel-and-stick Vinyl Floor Tiles
When it comes to home waterproofing, you don't always need to buy an expensive product to get the job done. This waterproofing method involves using cheap peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles along the base of your under-sink cabinet for basic waterproof protection.
These vinyl tiles are easy to install and cut to size, so you can easily create a layer of material that shields your cabinets from water. You can even choose vinyl tiles with a design that you like, giving your base cabinets a nice aesthetic as well as waterproofing.
4 WeatherTech Sink Mat
Another one of the great floor mats on the market, this sink mat from WeatherTech is designed especially for underneath your sink. Although WeatherTech usually makes products for vehicles, they have a couple of one-off products like this designed for wooden cabinets.
You should probably check them out.
Available in 2 colors – black and tan – these sink mats can be hand-trimmed with scissors to your exact specifications, holding up to a 1 gallon in the event of cabinet leakage. Make sure to buy one of these if you want to protect your cabinet against unwanted drips.
5 Polyurethane Sealer
Even if your mats and waterproofing solutions are down, you cannot forget about the edges and corners. Some of these water damage protection methods have weak spots – usually the edges and the corners. Here, water can drip and cause an unforeseen mold problem.
We don't want that for our cabinet!
Use a high-quality polyurethane sealer around the edges and corners of your cabinets, giving water nowhere to escape to. Whether it's in your bathroom or under the sink cabinet, liquid polyurethane is an amazing thing that can save you a lot of hassle down the road.
6 Waterproof your wooden surfaces
Do you have a wooden countertop in your bathroom or cooking space? If so, you might be letting water seep into the surface without realizing, causing problems with moisture and water damage. Here is a basic method for waterproofing these surfaces.
Sand the wooden countertop
First things first, sand the wood down. You don't have to be too abrasive, but we want a nice smooth surface that is going to adhere to painting very well. Especially if you are painting your kitchen cabinets white, you'd want the sanding part done flawless on your countertops because white is an overall neat color and will require that sanding and painting of kitchen countertop is done flawlessly.
Next, prep the area with some primer. This special liquid helps the color to stick to the wooden material for many years.
Paint with your desired color
Now paint your wooden kitchen cabinets with your color of choice. Make sure you use a color that is practical for the space you're in, and be sure to apply a couple of coats if you think it's necessary. Be careful not to miss any spots!
Add Clear Varnish
Now it's time to add several top coats of clear varnish that's designed for waterproofing. We recommend using a foam roller to apply your top coats. The reason for this is because the topcoat spreads more evenly and doesn't tend to leave streaks this way.
Enjoy your new waterproof countertop material!
7 Fix pipe leaks early!
Did you know that 250 gallons of water can leak from a single 1/8 inch pipe if it goes unnoticed? You must check your pipes on a regular basis, especially if you're a frequent traveller or if you're a landlord who lets out to people with high standards.
Replace old or leaking pipes before it's too late – your plumbing is so important to your home's structural integrity.
If you have issues with your plumbing, the leaking water could affect your home's foundations and make the dwelling unsafe. Call a plumber if you've got leaky pipes and consider regular plumbing inspections to make sure that your plumbing is working as intended.
8 Install floors resistant to water damage
If the worst should happen and the room should flood, you ideally want to have floors that are resistant to water damage, letting the water pool on top of them instead of absorbing it up. In wet spaces, your home floors need some level of water protection.
Here are some of the most common waterproof floors you can try in your home:
Laminated wooden flooring
Laminated wooden flooring, often called “laminate” for short, is a special type of wooden flooring that has been coated with a special laminate coating designed to help it resist water and give it a smooth texture that is easy to clean.
Often seen near kitchen cabinets, tiles are a great flooring option for the home because they don't absorb much water, they're durable, and they're very easy to clean. However, tiles do have grout lines that can absorb water slightly, so they're not the best for a high-splash site.
Linoleum flooring, often called “lino” for short, is a waterproof vinyl-like material which is often used for rooms in the home where water leakage is an issue. This material is easy to install and cut to size with a tape measure, so you can get exactly the size you need for your floor.
9 Invest in a good backsplash
Backsplashes are an essential part of any cooking space – all that splashing oil and liquid has to go somewhere! Backsplashes can also protect your cabinets from splashed water from your sink hitting the wall and travelling down into the sink cabinet to cause damage.
It can happen, believe us.
While it's not the most important thing when it comes to protecting cabinets, getting your wall wet with water, oils, and food splashes can seriously degrade the protection of your home, leaving your sink cabinet vulnerable to sinking water damage.
If you want a classic solution, subway tile is a great backsplash that never seems to go out of fashion. It protects your walls from splashes and water damage, in turn protecting your cabinets too.
10 Sink cabinet plastic tray
A simple yet elegant solution to leaky pipes, you should consider trying a large plastic tray with tall sides to protect your cabinet from leaks. Of course, you need to find a plastic tray that fits, so keep your tape measure handy and be sure to account for any pipes that might be in the way.
You don't want to buy the wrong size!
If you can find one in the right size, this is a simple solution for organizing your sink cabinet cleaning products while also catching gallons of potential water too. It won't work for all cabinets, but there's nothing much simpler than this for getting results.
11 Leak & flood alarms
One of the best options for preventing water damage and leaks before they even begin is a leak alarm or flood alarm. There are many options on the market for these products, but Zircon is well- known for their leak alarm product, using a water sensor and a 90db alarm to notify homeowners of a leak.
The Zircon alarm actually sounds for 72 hours once it detects leakage at the sites, making it ideal for people who are in and out of their home a lot.
These alarms are great for less-visited parts of your property too, such as cellars, sheds, and garages. All of these areas are more prone to moisture and flooding than the main part of your house, and you're likely to visit them less often, so floods quickly get out of hand.
Do you need to waterproof a kitchen?
Waterproofing your kitchen is a very good idea, especially when it comes to your cabinets and the cabinet under the sink which is at risk of being flooded. The most common way that a leak occurs is usually due to a sink pipe issue that makes its way into the cabinet below.
That cabinet cannot protect itself!
Cabinets are usually made from wooden materials that are not designed to withstand water, so the 11 ideas in this post help you to safeguard cabinets when water does escape and cause problems. If a cabinet has some form of waterproofing, it's more likely to survive a flood unscathed.
The Bottom Line
Whether you use a floor mat, plastic tray, or an ungodly amount of sealer, we hope that one of these 11 ideas can help you to better waterproof your property and keep your cabinets and drawers safe from damage and decay.
Whichever one of these methods you decide to try, we wish you good luck, and don't forget to check your plumbing regularly!